Sunday, October 28, 2012

Massive violations alleged on Election Day, but officials call problems minor (svitlana tuchynska, Kyiv Post)

According to Batkivshyna Party leader Oleksandr Turchynov, an unuusally high number of people -- 988,000 -- have asked to vote from home, citing poor health or advanced age. Considering that only 20 million to 25 million people are expected to vote out of some 36 million voters, the number of at-home voters seems high, he says.
Morever, this type of at-home voting, Turchynov said, can lead to massive fraud as members of the election commissions leave the polling station with ballots and ballot boxes.

Other violations have been reported by journalists, activists and party members.
In Kyiv, members of the polling commission dissapeared with the ballot box, according to activist Natalia Sokolenko. Sokolenko reportedly said that this happened in 211 district in Kyiv, at the No. 6 and No. 8 polling stations. "two members of the district elections commissions have gone to the voters' homes as these people have allegedly asked for the for home voting. Observers who went with them found that only two out of 70 people were at home. Then, when members of the commission understood that they could not fake votes this way, they have tried to run away with the ballot box," Sokolenko wrote on Facebook.

Opposition representatives have also said that their observers were not allowed in the polling stations in prisons and pre-trial detention centers.
Busing voters to polling stations has also been reported in Kyiv and Donetsk, according to the Committee of Voters of Ukraine. These cases have happened in districts No. 41 and 45 in Donetsk Oblast. This is a sign of organized voting for a particular candidate or possibly even "carousel" voting, in which the same voter casts multiple ballots in differen polling stations.

Iryna Herashchenko, a candidate on Vitali Klitschko's Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms Party list, has reported on her Facebook account that her fellow party member, Olga Gerasymyuk, who is running in a single-mandate district in Odesa Oblast, was attacked near the polling station. "Two women in the bus outside the stations were registering people who have voted...Around 100 people have registered in the bus after they have voted," Herashchenko said. When Gerasymnyuk tried to film the violation, she was attacked by unknown man, who also broke her camera and threatened her.

Meanwhile Volodymyr Polishchuk, spokesperson for the Interior Ministry reported no violations "which would have influenced the voting process as of 12 p.m. Vuiolations of the electoral process registered by observers in the morning of the election day in Ukraine are not systematic in nature, according to the CIS-EMO international observation mission at the elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. "At the moment all the violations registered by our experts are not systematic... We can not say that the election is terrible undemocratic," a representative of the mission, Vladimir Titov, said at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine on Sunday.

A total of 23.56 percent of the voters cast their ballots at the elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine as of 1:40 p.m. on Oct. 28. The Central Election Commission published these data on its scoreboard. The data were received from 219 out of a total of 225 constituencies.
CEC Deputy Head Zhanna Usenko-Chorna said that the highest turnout was in Chernihiv region (almost 30 percent), the lowest in Odesa and Zakarpattia regions.

Observers from the European Parliament have said that the electoral process at the elections to the Verkhovna Rada is on the whole fair and transparent. "Overall, the organization is excellent, the atmosphere is friendly. These are fair and transparent elections," MEP Daniel van der Stoep (the Netherlands) said at the press conference. (www.kyivpost.com)

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